Over the last couple weeks, Amazon has announced they will be launching a beta Handmade selling program in an attempt to steal some of the etsy market. This is great news for thriving craftpreneurs who want to be exposed to different markets. While many other craft sites exist on the web, such as art fire, there aren’t too many sites like etsy. And Amazon wants in.
Interestingly enough, through this process exploring Amazon, I have learned that over a third of the products sold on Amazon are done through third party sellers, such as those like me selling through the site. When one thinks about what the average Amazon customer is versus the etsy customer, it’s easy to see the market has been broadened enough for you to be exposed to all sorts of different people.
Amazon Seller dashboard is definitely set up for hardcore sales, and on some level, I feel like the beginning sellers should err away from getting started on Amazon because they demand quick shipping times, and if this isn’t something you aren’t used to, I might step away from it, rethink your process, and come back. But in all my experience selling online, I think its always best business practice to ship immediately the next day, no matter what. But like I said, etsy is a great beginning seller playground to make mistakes and also to have the freedom to make those mistakes.
Etsy is a great place to be, don’t get me wrong, but when it comes to being part of a great community and trying to express how we would like etsy to be, well, the company isn’t too big on that. Believe it or not, any critique of the site you try to have within the etsy forums will be immediately shut down by etsy themselves. You can’t even talk about Amazon Handmade on their forums without having your discussion shut down. Crazy.
The Looming, Scary Power of the Etsy Gods
That being said, etsy does and has suspended shops without warning. From copyright law to delayed shipments, one day you could wake up and your shop would be gone. You need to be a top rated seller all the time, and I once had to work with etsy to avoid getting suspended due to some delayed shipments, and they were very strict. That week was especially scary for me because I do depend on my etsy income. And my sales dipped in half during that month because they kept all my products as unlisted in their system, so no one could search me.
What did I learn from this experience?
Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. I’ve decided to branch out to other sites, slowly. I’ve started selling my scrabble tiles on ebay now, and was approved for the Amazon Handmade Beta Program, which was great, because it’s created a whole other income for me that I would have otherwise not received on etsy.
WordPress, where I currently blog now, has an amazing business website upgrade that blows my mind, only like $200 for one year too. They even have instant chat so your customers can message you any time they want through your website. That’s the path I am trying to go to next, better website, selling on multiple marketplace websites, and really trying to develop my business.
Good products will always stand the test of time, and even in different marketplaces. Signing up for the Amazon Handmade program has really generated me a lot of leads, and I am impressed with a lot of the features they offer.
Another value is there are a lot less customer inquiries over Amazon, just orders, which makes sense. When was the last time you messaged a third party seller through Amazon? As a result, I haven’t had any email discussions with my Amazon customers and I’ve already been on for three weeks, and I have been making consistent sales. Because of this, your average Amazon customer knows what they want, and they buy it. (Unlike the more specific etsy customer who sometimes have very intricate colors/details they see in their mind’s eye and would like you to create.)
Get on Amazon! Sign up at soon as possible too. It takes 4 weeks for them to review your business to see if they will let you on, and they are waiving the $39.99/month seller’s fee until August of 2016, which means you can ride through all of 2016’s wedding season to see if its worth it for your craft business.
Anyone else trying Amazon Handmade?